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Departing Senate Finance Chair Named as Next U.S. Ambassador to China

Friday, December 20, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

According to press reports, President Obama will soon nominate Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, who announced in April that he will not run for a seventh term next fall, to serve as U.S. ambassador to China. Baucus would replace Gary Locke, who is the first Chinese American to serve as ambassador to China and will step down from that post in early 2014. Both Baucus and Locke have substantial experience dealing with trade issues with China, which will continue to be one of the major aspects of the ambassador’s portfolio.

Congressional sources have confirmed that Baucus will be succeeded as head of the Senate’s chief trade policy committee by Ron Wyden, D-Ore. A Fox News article cited Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., as saying that he wants to see Senate Finance “a little more aggressive” and that Wyden “will be.” A Bloomberg article noted that Baucus’ campaign to secure the biggest overhaul of the U.S. tax code in more than 25 years could come to an end with an early departure from the Senate but added that Wyden has been supportive of “lower tax rates and removing breaks that many companies rely on, including the ability for multinational companies to defer taxes on income earned overseas.” According to Inside US Trade, “observers said that Baucus’ retirement would very likely delay the effort to advance legislation to renew Trade Promotion Authority early next year.”

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